This is a plate of farm fresh chicken pasta. Chicken born and raised by us. Chicken that lived a beautiful life. We nurtured it’s mumma as she diligently sat on her eggs, keeping them warm and healthy and alive. We made sure that the little chickeny family was well taken care of and protected from the weather and foxes and older chooks. We gave them attention each day and provided wholesome food for them as they grew and developed. This chicken had a free-range, happy life.
Unfortunately, well, I guess unfortunately, this chicken was born a rooster. I struggle with this because I bond with every chick born. It’s one of those terrible dilemmas that an animal loving meat eater such as me has to face. What to do with the farm animals that we can’t keep? I love the idea of eating meat that has had a wonderful life. I try to make sure that the majority of the meat we eat is ethically grown. I love that all of the lamb and beef we eat is from Pete’s animals born and raised on his property. But when it comes to the animals that I’ve helped raise or have bonded with, well that’s a totally different story. I’ve re-homed all of the roosters we’ve ever needed to move on and couldn’t bear the thought of them being eaten. But is that right? I question myself often.
When Pete’s hen (a bantam langshan) had her first lot of chicks we brought them back to our place to look after them and keep them separated from the bigger chooks while they were young and developing. Once we felt they were old enough we took them back to Pete’s. They were at the age where we could work out the hens from the roosters. Like often is the case, there was only one hen amongst the four chicks. Three roosters plus the dad rooster was not going to be possible in Pete’s chook pen. What to do with them?
Pete wanted to kill and eat them. I didn’t. I ummed and aahed and talked about re-homing them but it didn’t happen. Lew felt the same way I did, not keen at all to kill the roosters. Coming out of being a vegan for 12 months, Lew was teetering with his ethics. He doesn’t even fully endorse the eating of meat even though he now eats it again. The dilemmas were definitely there for us in our little household. Something had to be done about the roosters, though. So one day, after discussing the whole scenario, Pete killed one of them.
That rooster is in this pasta.
That sounds a bit harsh doesn’t it? Or does it? Agh, I struggle with this stuff. I really want to eat our own meat. I want it grown on our properties, nurtured by us, knowing that whatever we are eating has had a wholesome, kind, happy life and death. That rooster had that kind of life.
It was hard for me (and Lew) but I pushed through my stuff and agreed to the killing. I helped Pete pluck it and I roasted it in the oven. Lew and Josh made the rest of the meal. Jess refused to eat it and had baked beans on toast instead (her favourite meal). I totally get her decision.
It felt good eating a meal that was produced by us in more than just the preparational sense. The veggies were from my garden. The meat from Pete’s. The rest of it was put together and cooked by Lew, Josh, Pete and I. It really did feel good. And it tasted good too. A little on the gamey side as these bantams are really not meat chickens but it was yummy and we really appreciated that little rooster.
So that’s the story of this farm fresh chicken pasta. Every single plate of food has a story. The moral to this story is that I’m pretty sure I just have to toughen up a bit.
There’s one more rooster left to deal with.
What are your thoughts? Are you a meat eater? If so, would you eat meat that you’ve raised? Have you? I’d love to hear what you think.